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Intel at the edge

Zafar Anjum | Aug. 18, 2011
The future of wireless network architecture relies on distributed intelligence that meets the performance demands of the new wireless world without compromising security or quality of service, says Ben Mesfin, director and general manager, Wireless Network Solutions (WNS) of Motorola Solutions Asia Pacific.

But going wireless brings some complications in its wake. "When you go wireless, your network has to be reliable and available," Mesfin says. "Compared to the past, low speeds and connectivity issues are now history. Today I walk into my office and go wireless-it is always available no matter which corner of the building I go to. The speed is as good as wire."

"That's where we are today-providing business-critical wireless and enabling running of applications that enterprises need to run," he says. "That is our core focus. Along with that comes security. Perception wise, wireless security is another area of interest."

In the next few minutes, Mesfin discusses Motorola's security strengths. "Today, with the solutions that we provide (for example, Motorola Airdefense), we not only secure the physical layer of the radio communication, we can also provide forensic analysis, so you can look at the health of the total network. If you spot a problem, you can go back and analyse the problem. You can see and analyse potential threats as well."

Motorola's AirDefense Network Assurance Solution is a set of vendor agnostic tools that gives the user full control of the WLAN's operational performance: using it, you can remotely troubleshoot the connections, identify sources of interference, visualise real-time wireless coverage heatmaps and uncover trends that reveal complex or intermittent problems.

I ask him if his division provides only products and solutions. "At the moment, we have limited service offerings," he says. "A lot of solutions we offer today are hardware and software tools bundled together and we have our solution partners who can often provide most of the solutions. In limited cases, we are involved in direct consulting in some developed markets." He gives me some examples from the government sector in Australia but we don't go into too much detail.   

I ask him about his key markets in Asia. Where are his solutions most popular among the enterprises and governments? "For wireless, our key markets are Japan, South Korea, and Australia," he says. "Our emerging markets would be Southeast Asia, primarily, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and India."

Then, Mesfin goes on to give me some examples from South Korea. He says: "South Korea has been leading the world in broadband penetration. But they were lagging in wireless penetration in enterprise. So, in the last two years, they have realised that they have this gap to bridge. So, in some of the new factories that they are setting up, they are yanking out all the wires."

"The proliferation of smartphones with wi-fi has created new problems for CIOs," he adds. For example, he says, Samsung provided 70,000 smartphones to its employees. When the phones got on the office network, it created 70,000 potential security breach points. The CIO brought in Motorola to secure the network before the employees could be given access to the network.

 

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